Terracotta, an open source Java caching vendor, announced it acquired EHCache earlier this week. This is interesting for two reasons (no, not because I thought EHCache was a Canadian company because of the "eh" in its name).
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EHCache provides an alternative to Terracotta's approach to Java caching. While Terracotta can approach the JVM layer without application changes, EHCache requires the application be modified with caching in mind. Terracotta founder and CTO, Ari Zilka, explains the benefits of the combined company thus:
Terracotta's interface in more than 50% of use cases has been EHCache. Basically, developers design applications to use EHCache and use Terracotta's EHCache clustering module to get massive scale and high availability at runtime.
The two together will provide the most seamless path from 1 node up to 100. Instead of having to worry about which version of EHCache Terracotta supports, or if your EHCache integration will work well with Terracotta, EHCache's and Terracotta's users alike can rest assured the two will always work in perfect harmony from today forward.
The second interesting aspect of this acquisition, not mentioned by Ari, is that the combined company looks much more attractive to VMware/SpringSource. IBM WebSphere eXtreme Scale Chief Architect Billy Newport had predicted that VMware would acquire Terracotta after news of the SpringSource acquisition hit the wire.
Billy may be on to something. Terracotta can offer both an unintrusive caching solution that could be married alongside future JVM work that VMware is sure to do, and it offers a caching API that could find its way into SpringSource products -- smart move on Terracotta's part. But to be fair, this acquisition was in the works before the SpringSource acquisition was made public.
Terracotta is positioning the acquisition as a major competitive coup versus the likes of Oracle Coherence, GigaSpaces, and WebSphere eXtreme Scale. Leaders from Oracle Coherence and WebSphere eXtreme Scale had a more measured response: